Friday, 24 October 2008

Living Forgotten Realms Changes (23/10/08)

The new character generation guidelines (version 1.7) have been released for download from the Wizards site. There are some important changes:

  • All backgrounds in the FR Players Guide are now legal, not just the 12 LFR regions. Existing characters cannot change their background, but all new characters can take advantage of that.
  • You can now purchase any equipment from Adventurer's Vault or Dragon Magazine without getting special access. Remember if you want to buy a magic item, you can still only buy an item of your level or lower.
  • In addition to having to play a Lawful Good, Good or Unaligned character your character is now prohibited from worshipping an Evil or Chaotic Evil deity.
  • If you have a Channel Divinity feat from the Player's Handbook you must exchange that for the appropriate Channel Divinity feat in the FR Player's Guide (as the gods in the PHB are different to the gods in the FRPG). I don't think that effects anyone at our tables but if it does, download the sheet and look at the chart.
  • If you're lucky enough to have a chance to pick up an item 5 or more levels above your character level, you are now allowed to pick it but not use it until your character is within 4 levels of the item. Before you couldn't pick it at all.
  • Everything in Martial Power, Player's Handbook II and Arcane Power will be legal for LFR play, you can play things in Martial Power from 18th November, Players Handbook II from 17th March and Arcane Power from 21st April.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Weekend in the Realms - Call for Players

I'm running the Weekend in the Realms adventure "Beneath Haunted Halls" at the Witch Engine on Saturday, starting the trilogy of adventures at 10:30am and running on to the early evening. At the moment I've got Louis and Antonié confirmed as playing, Michael as a possible but I need four to take part in a legal table.

Back to Magic

I've dabbled in and out of Magic since about '95 and have managed to be Top 8 in the County Champs of 2006 and 2007 (although that county being Somerset that's a little less impressive than it can be) but I've been a bit out of the game for the past year.

But tonight saw my return to Mimm's Friday Night Magic (yes, I know it's Wednesday, long story). I bought two theme decks of Shards of Alara and mashed them together for the following deck:

Lands (26)
10 Swamp
4 Island
4 Mountain
4 Crumbling Necropolis
4 Grixis Panorama

Creatures (18)
4 Fire-Field Ogre UBR1
4 Kederekt Creeper UBR
4 Incurable Ogre R3
2 Blood Cultist BR1
2 Vein Drinker BB4
2 Dregscape Zombie B1

Other Cards (16)
4 Agony Warp UB
4 Terror B1
4 Blightning BR1
2 Obelisk of Graxis 3
2 Cruel Ultimatium UUBBBRR

General idea of the deck is to swing in with creatures after Agony Warp and Terror has cleared the field, Kederekt Creeper has good 2 for 1 potential given that opponents have to block it with at least two creatures.

Round 1 - vs Mike (playing a Blue Millstoning Deck)
Mike took me down in game 1 with Sanity Grinding taking 20 and 22 cards out of my library and then casting a 3rd one when I had only 5 cards left. Game 2 saw no Sanity Grindings, but an old fashioned beat down with Oona, Queen of the Fae soon won the game very easily for Mike. (0-1)

Round 2 - vs Michael (playing a Black-Red Goblin Burn deck)
This round wasn't very fun for Michael, he got severely mana screwed in game 1, having only a Mountain and Shimmering Grotto for the whole game. The second game was closer, but a lack of goblins meant that the Creeper and the Fire-Field Ogre easily swung for the win. (1-1)

Round 3 - vs Ross (playing a White Green Exalted deck)
Although I lost 0-2, both games were close damage races until Elspeth, Knight-Errant and the Battlegrace Angels showed up to the battle. The stars of my deck were against the Kederekt Creeper and Fire-Field Angels, so they will definitely stay in my deck for next week. Good to end the week on a good note. (1-2)

Overall thoughts - Again, I was reminded why I do and don't like Magic, out of the six games I played, 4 were pretty boring and one-sided, with only the two against Ross being fun, but those two games really were fun. I'll be back again next Wednesday for another FNM.

Update: By the way, congrats Dani for her FNM win!

Louis's Campaign Update

Had a good game of D&D over at Louis's last night even though I had ridiculously bad luck with the dice rolling. It was my first attempt at running two characters at once, because as well as my paladin, Taldor, I had Rob's drow dual-wielding-scimitar ranger Illidar to control as well. I think it's going to be tricky to run 4th edition characters that you're unfamiliar with the ins and outs of their powers.

For the adventure itself, we descended into a dwarven tomb in search of a long lost set of armour. Fighting the usual skeletons and other guardians of the tomb we were successful and found the armour for the dwarven House Sorenson. I had missed a couple of sessions so not too sure how we started to work for them guys. At the moment we're in the North of Faerûn, shuttling between Luskan, Neverwinter, Waterdeep and Silverymoon. Soon I'd like us to pick a base of operations, maybe a small town or village and resettle the wilderness.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Elf Laser Clerics

Normally, when I get to play Dungeons & Dragons I create a character to fit the party, for example creating Thalgrim the dwarf fighter for Living Forgotten Realms after reading reports from Gencon that LFR was very striker heavy. But when Felix offered to run one of his themed adventures for Halloween it was a chance not only to play in a very cool adventure, but also a chance to try out one of the power builds.

Enter the Elf Laser Cleric - I don't know who came up with the term, but Laser comes from the Level 1 at-will power Lance of Faith which produces a "brilliant ray of light which sears your foe". Sweet. Lance of Faith, along with it's cousin Sacred Flame are both Wisdom attacks, Wisdom makes your healing better through Healer's Lore (add wisdom modifier to the healing of any healing powers) and the Elf does get a +2 wisdom bonus. But there's another big reason to choose the Elf and that's Elven Accuracy.

Elven Accuracy is an encounter power which grants elves an attack reroll, the feat Elven Precision boosts that by giving the reroll a +2 untyped bonus. For example from yesterday's adventure, Sarwin dropped a Daunting Light on a Ghoul that had just snuck up on him. Ghouls have Reflex 20, which gave the +9 attack a 50/50 chance of succeeding, but you don't want to waste your encounter power, so Elven Precision gives the reroll, if needed a 60% chance of hitting, all together that gives an 80% chance of hitting. Take 2d10+1d8+7 radiant damage to the chops, Ghoul.

Wait, where does the 1d8 damage come from? That's from Hunter's Quarry, usable from the crossclass feat Warrior of the Wild. Although errata has nerfed the ability slightly, it's only from too good to very good. With Warrior of the Wild, Sarwin gets Hunter's Quarry once per encounter which lasts until the end of his next turn, that's two rounds of potentially doing an extra 1d6 damage, Elven Accuracy/Precision helps there as well. The elven Speed 7 helps make sure the bad guy is the closest enemy and ignoring difficult terrain should work to the elf's advantage too. I did make a mistake by picking up Lethal Hunter to increase HQ dice from 1d6 to 1d8 instead of Astral Fire which would add +1 feat bonus damage to all radiant or fire powers (ie pretty much all of them). The other bonus to picking Warrior of the Wild is that it opens Perception to pick up as a trained skill, increasing Sarwin's passive perception to 24 (10 + 5 trained + 5 wisdom + 2 half level + 2 racial bonus)

I didn't know that Felix was going to place his adventure in the Forgotten Realms, so the selection of Impiltur (use Wisdom instead of Constitution for starting hit points) as Sarwin's home region was just a bonus, but you don't turn down 6 extra hit points do you.

Sarwin, Level 5 Elf Cleric
Strength 10 (+0/+2)
Constitution 14 (+2/+4)
Dexterity 14 (+2/+4)
Intelligence 8 (-1/+1)
Wisdom 20 (+5/+7)
Charisma 14 (+2/+4)

Hit Points 40
AC 19, Fortitude 15, Reflex 17, Will 20
Wisdom Attacks +9

Elven Precision
Warrior of the Wild
Lethal Hunter

Exalted Chainmail +1
Holy Symbol of Kelemvor +2
Everlasting Provisions
Amulet of Health +1

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Sarwin's Journal: Felix's Halloween Adventure Part 1

[Felix ran a Halloween themed game for 5th level characters, I decided on an Elf Laser Cleric with Warrior of the Wild for the Hunter's Quarry feature which was a bit unfair as we were expecting a lot of undead but was a good test of the cleric]

Hallow Graveyard was on the site of the battle of a great battle where a good force from Waterdeep destroyed Morkhaine's undead army. The evil army were left where they lay and Morkhaine's evil lingered. Every year on the annisversary of that battle, some undead rise and try to free Morkhaine's soul and allow the necromancer back onto the mortal plane. It was our job to stop that.

After some research in a well-stocked library, we travelled to the overgrown cemetary, little used since the battle. Although it was still afternoon, a mist had descended on the graveyard and through the mist, we spotted some of the undead, the townsfolk tales were proven true. The wight did not last long, Kelemvor's Daunting Light damaged it mightily and a couple of Sacred Flames soon sent it to it's rest.

Searching the graveyard, we encountered a phantasm of an old soldier, telling us about Morkhaine's resting place. There in an old diseased tree was a hole, leading to a spiral staircase made of the bones of the fallen. Talmar rushed in and fell to the bottom of the stairway where there was a door made into the shape of a coffin. Through that door was another nest of skeletons and ghouls which seemed to emerge from the bone walls. A fight happened which thanks to Kelemvor we were victorious, though sorely injured we decided to rest for a time before going on to face the necromancer himself.

The Rotting Ruin of Galain at Yeovil Games

Louis ran a Living Forgotten Realms adventure this morning for Henry, Arthur, Antonié and me. To avoid spoilers, I'll only say that The Rotting Ruin of Galain is an encounter heavy exploration adventure which appealed to the more combat-eager of our party though it did need to difficulties in running the game to time.

Notable actions:
Thalgrim (my dwarven fighter) deciding to leap downstairs rather than take the ladder down only to roll a 1 on his acrobatics check. To add insult to the eight hit points of injury, the fight he was eager to join in was over before he had a chance to get up.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Village of Harse

Allegiance: City of Korvosa
Location: North of Korvosa, at the confluence of the Sarwin and Falcon Rivers and on the Silver Road between Korvosa and Janderhoff.
Population: about 200 in the village itself, around 600 more in the ranches and farms in the vicinity, mostly human, small community of halflings, many dwarven travellers.
Trades: Horse trading, also earns money from being a comfortable overnight halt on the two day journey from Janderhoff to Korvosa.

Nearest neighbours:
Palin's Cove, 13 miles downstream along the Falcon River
Crystalrock Fort, 19 miles up the Falcon River
Baselwief, 18 miles up the Sarwin River
Janderhoff, 30 miles north along the Silver Road
Korvosa, 25 miles south along the Silver Road

Worship - A small church dedicated to Erastil, staffed by 2 priests. There is a shrine to Desna, unstaffed but regularly tended by travellers and a shrine to Torag at the back of the Silver Pony.
Supplies - Harse Bridles (riding equipment), Illaro's Equipment (general adventuring equipment), there is a blacksmith's in the village, but he does not produce armour or weaponry. The Harse Market (finest horse trading market in Varisia)
Places to Stay - Most well-to-do merchants stay at the Silver Pony which has a fine reputation particularly with dwarves. The Nag Bag is less pleasant, but is conveniently located to wait for the ferry over the Falcon.

Law and Order:
Harse is a widely spread community and so is not walled. Neither does it have a standing defence force. The Sable Company have a base at Crystalrock Fort and patrols the local area. A travelling Arbiter comes to the village for a couple of days every month to handle disputes. Minor crimes are dealt with by the mayor and a jury of local people, people accused of more serious crimes are sent back to Korvosa.

Other Notes of Interest
The Harse Rides are a festival of horse races and rodeo held in the third week of Desnus. During that week, the population of Harse triples in size and the Korvosan Guard send a detachment of officers to deal with the visitors.

Curse of the Crimson Throne Episode 8

Episode 8 Recap:
  • The early part of the session was the planning of the rescue of Trinia Sabor from her scheduled execution.
  • Artimus arranged the use of a "safe house" by a sewage outflow from the Spider King, he did pledge a favour in return.
  • Shiever set up a fireworks display to distract the crowd and guards.
  • Jonathan had the task of opening a manhole for Balasar to escape with Trinia into the sewers.
  • Meanwhile Balasar was mingling in the VIP grandstand, meeting up with Commandant Marcus Endrin of the Sable Company and got himself an chance to join up with them.
  • The Queen gave a moving speech on how the assassin's death would lead to a new start for Korvosa but then a small figure appeared on an inn's roof overlooking Domina Square. Gimble, for it was he fired a grapple down into the platform and slid down to the square dressed in a Blackjack outfit.
  • None of the party noticed the Executioner (the "real" Blackjack) knocking out the guards and untying Trinia. He then gave a retort denouncing the Queen and using some kind of magic to teleport him back to the inn
  • Blackjack and Gimble took Jonathan and Balasar's planned escape route and escaped the Castle Guard.

Aftermath of the Rescue
  • Public reaction is mixed, most people do support the Queen and believe that Trinia was the assassin, but Blackjack's always been a hero of Korvosa so he wouldn't rescue an assassin if she wasn't innocent.
  • The Queen is reportedly in rage at the ineptitude of her Castle Guard. Two days later, she officially dissolves the Castle Guard, firing some of the Guard, transferring the rest to the Korvosan Guard and setting up a new Royal Guard under the command of General Merrin.
  • Blackjack left Trinia in the care of Vencarlo and Vencarlo asked the party to escort Trinia to a friend of his in Harse.
  • The party skirted a small swamp to get to Harse, and were attacked by a very young, but still dangerous Black Dragon. They managed to defeat the dragon and keep Trinia safe.

Experience Totals
  • Artimus 3,505
  • Shiever 3,255
  • Balasar 3,230
  • Hendel 2,422 (now level 3)
  • Jonathan 1,653

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Artimus's Journal Part 3

[Written by Jaime, Artimus's player after Curse of the Crimson Throne Episode 7]

We found Noark. He had been using a hospice building as cover and during the night took people from the streets and took them into a secret lab beneath to building to use as test subjects.

He says that he's been developing a disease that will kill all the low born people of Korvosa, the Varisians at least, and the fact that he has made a disease that specifically does this is facinating!

It was revealed to me that Noark was not the mastermind behind this operation and infact it was someone else pulling the strings. But what I didn't expect was that he was working for the Queen! It is apparent that the Queen is going to use the disease to kill all the low born people of Korvosa and the priestess who seemed to be in charge - Andaisin - told me that this was because they didn't fit the Queen's image of a perfect city.

I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. I was asked to help in the creation of the disease as they were trying to tune it to raise the dead after they had passed and this would be an interesting thing to accomplish but... though the people of this city mean nothing to me I feel I must help them. So I am helping Noark so that I can find out more about the disease and hopefully I will find a cure for it.

Though i have little time. Coins coated in the plague have been placed in a bank and will be circulated soon. If i don't find a cure fast... A large chunk of Korvosa will die.

((The next few pages are filled with more strange symbols and the readers of the journal realise that Artemis has created his own language that he uses to document important information or questions for him to look back on later, a sort of advanced shorthand.))

It's been a few days now and I've found out several things about the disease. It takes a few days to manfest after the infection, and the people that are infected but don't know it yet are contagious. This means that it will spread and no one will know what has happened until alot of people have been infected already.

Varisians make up about 40% of the total population of Korvosa and approximately 50% are Varisian and Chillaxian half breeds. This may become useful for if it only affects the Varisians and not Chillaxians then there may be something that chillaxians have that makes them immune and it may be present in the halfbreeds.

((Theres a small break where he's documenting more things that you suspect has relevence to what was just written before a hastily written paragraph below it, obviously written either under stress or maybe just that Artemis was caught up in the moment))

The Disease isn't perfect! I just found out that the healthier of the populace can withstand the disease and fight it off! Noark projects that 'such specimens are rare at best and about 90% of the people it infects will still die' but this means that there is an antibody the healthier people produce that kills the disease. I doubt I will be able to get close to the specimen that withstood the disease - he may already have been killed because he survived but if I can get a hold of someone strong, infect them and wait for them to fight off the infection then I can use him to find a cure for the disease! This was the breakthrough I was waiting for! I might even be able to produce a vaccine to immunise the people so that they are never infected in the first place...

Noark is coming. May the next passage I write be-

((It cuts off, hastily shut the wet ink of the last few words is smudged against the opposite page and illegible))

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Artimus's Journal Part 2

[Written by Jaime, Artimus's player, after Curse of the Crimson Throne Episode 6]

((The journal continues a few pages after the last entries, the pages in between filled with random jotting of pieces of information and questions that did not yet have answers, but all were written in strange symbols unreadable to most and the questions were only known to be questions by their question marks at the end.))

My patience with the guard is wearing thin. One of my recent 'missions' sent me into the dark depths of the Korvosian sewer system where an array of pungant smells made me almost vomit. It is here that I and my collegues suffered defeat at the hands of a flesh golem, a being made from the bodies of the recently dead.

It appears that an old student of the acadamae, Noark, who was expelled for a reason unknown to me is behidn the creation of this flesh golem and the thievery of the bodies used to create it from the pauper's crypt.

I ventured to the acadamae and asked an old teacher of mine that i have great respect for but he didn't know anything about Noark's expulsion - only that it was because the acadamae 'doesn't like scandal' which I found strange as usually gifted students of necromancy are supplied test subjects to sue and the reason Noark was expelled seemedto be related to his aquiring of bodies...

But I digress.

I attended the trial of the deserter that we apprehended. The defense lawyers he had appeared to be very good, the kind that he would not be able to afford and it was obvious to me that the Judge was under some form of pressure. I feel that Verminda Arcona, the woman who had given a dagger to the ex-guard as he had told me before he had been turned to stone by the dagger, had a hand in this. This makes me more suspicious, as it seems to me that she wouldn't have bothered saving him from death if he wasn't in some way important or wanted to use him for another purpose... This may have some relevence to what Gigax had told me but I can't make a definate link yet.

Croft came looking for us not long after the trial and sent us to recover a girl who had been accused of killing the king to interrogate. When we went to her house to egt her she attempted to escape over the rooftops but she was no match for my magic and I simply put her to sleep and we soon caught up and restrained her. I thought to myself at the time and I still think now that she was far too weak and helpless to have committed such a crime, and the times when she was at the castle and the time of the king's death had no correlation to each other. I'm waiting to see what happens next but I am preoccupied with finding Noark.

However, something has been bothering me. I once heard that the Headmaster of the acadamae didn't not get to his position through the normal route. Apparently the summoning and binding of the powerful demon was rigged in some way... Gigax told me that a powerful demon was seeking to gather power in Korvosa. if this demon was the same as the one who made the deal with Toff to get him his position, then that is a powerfula nd influential part of Korvosa itself and the acadamae was sealed off shortly after the kings death and ignored the queen's pleas for help which is a little strange...
I hope that the headmaster has not been corrupted or else I have a hard battle ahead of me if I am to use Gigax to find what I want.

Also, while my tiefling friend was trying to find out information about Noark he discovered two interesting things. One, that there have been dissappearences in old Korvosa lately - this may be linked to noark and it is the next lead that I will investigate. And two, after the recent incarceration of the king of spiders (who we had to visit for a mission prior to the flesh golem incident and someone I enjoyed the company of immensely) there has been another who has been trying to muscle onto his turf. I wish to offer my services to the king of spiders, and perhaps help him out of this current predicament as having someone like him owing me a favour may prove useful in the future. But currently I am preoccupied.